Title

A Method For Tracking the Brownian Motion To Estimate the Size Distribution of Submicron Particles In Seawater

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-1-2022

Department

Marine Science

School

Ocean Science and Engineering

Abstract

Because the diffusivity of particles undergoing the Brownian motion is inversely proportional to their sizes, the size distribution of submicron particles can be estimated by tracking their movement. This particle tracking analysis (PTA) has been applied in various fields, but mainly focused on resolving monodispersed particle populations and is rarely used for measuring oceanic particles that are naturally polydispersed. We demonstrated using Monte Carlo simulation that, in principle, PTA can be used to size natural, oceanic particles. We conducted a series of lab experiments using microbeads of NIST-traceable sizes to evaluate the performance of ViewSizer 3000, a PTA-based commercial instrument, and found two major uncertainties: (1) the sample volume varies with the size of particles and (2) the signal-to-noise ratio for particles of sizes < 200–250 nm was reduced and hence their concentration was underestimated with the presence of larger particles. After applying the volume correction, we found the instrument can resolve oceanic submicron particles of sizes greater than 250 nm with a mean absolute error of 3.9% in size and 38% in concentration.

Publication Title

Limnology and Oceanography: Methods

Volume

20

Issue

7

First Page

373

Last Page

386

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